Longtime fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines and their hit HGTV show Fixer Upper should also be familiar with their friend and carpenter extraordinaire, Clint Harp. Clint and his wife Kelly, founders of Harp Design Co, have a sweet love story that also began right in the heart of Waco, Texas.
In the late '90s, Clint and Kelly were both attending Baylor University. Clint went to his friend's apartment and their roommate came in. It was Kelly. He was immediately smitten and pretty soon the couple started dating. They eventually realized they had found the real deal and after dating for a while, Clint said "I love you."
"It was maybe a couple days later that she said, 'I want you to know I don't love you because of some feeling. I want you to know I love you because I choose you," Clint told Country Living.
"And when we have to fight through stuff in our life, I choose to fight through those things with you.' And I was like, 'I've won the lottery.'"
The happy couple tied the knot in 2001 before relocating to Houston, Texas together. Clint was making some serious money in medical sales, but had always had a dream to make furniture. After welcoming two children, Hudson and Holland, Clint decided to quit his job and pursue his passion. Harp Design Co. was founded out of the Harp's garage in 2011.
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I love this throwback pic of these two kids who had no idea of what was ahead on this adventure we’ve chosen. I also love small businesses. As a small business we’ve found great success when people work together towards a common goal. Our goal here at @harpdesignco has been and will always be to create things of beauty which will help bring family, friends and strangers together to fill your home with love. With our little band of 30 or so employees over the last few years that’s exactly what we’ve worked to do and what we will continue to work towards. With our Waco storefront temporarily closed, it certainly feels like the walls are closing in and that we should panic. But we’re not. We’re moving ahead the best we know how so that when this dark cloud lifts we’ll be in a place to keep going. In order to get where we are today, it took help from so many people. And in order to get through this ordeal it’s taking help again from some of those same people, and I am once again blown over by the support and love for what we are trying to do. We’re so thankful and pleased to see so many of you still visiting our website to shop and buy homegoods and tables, and we’ve got a small crew set up to keep fulfilling those orders. We’re going to keep doing everything we can to keep this ship afloat, and no matter how difficult things get, we’re going to look for the beauty in each moment and hope for brighter days ahead. Don’t give up, and when you can find a moment…laugh, share a smile, and spread the love….and maybe go build something ❤️#lovebuildrun
"I wanted to do something that meant something to me and my wife," he told the Austin American Statesman. "I wanted to wake up in the morning and feel like we were truly being ourselves."
Clint went full in. He taught himself how to use his tools by watching YouTube videos. Kelly had been a stay at home mom so the family decided to move back to Waco so that she could pursue her master's degree.
Unfortunately, Clint was totally broke when they got to Waco. But things turned around when he saw a truck that said "Magnolia Homes" on it at a local gas station. In a bold move, he went up to the driver to see if he knew Chip Gaines. It was actually Chip driving. Clint explained that he wanted to make furniture, which was perfect timing since Joanna had started selling home goods and wanted to expand to furniture. Pretty soon, Clint and Chip became fast friends and Fixer Upper started falling into place.
"I met Chip at a gas station in February or March of 2012 and by October or November, we're filming a pilot for HGTV," he says.
Pretty much overnight, Clint Harp became known as the Gaines's woodworking expert on the show. Each episode he would be featured making a handcrafted piece of home decor that was specially designed by Joanna for the family. But after the show ended, Clint and Kelly Harp got their own show on the DIY Network.
Wood Work debuted on DIY in 2018 with season 2 coming soon. The same year, Clint even published his first book, Handcrafted: A Woodworker's Story.
Prior to the premiere, Clint told Country Living he was excited for viewers to get to know his wife, who is a designer on the show, in addition to their three kids -- Hudson, Holland and Camille, who was welcomed after they moved back to Waco.
"[Kelly is] incredibly deep, thoughtful and caring," Clint says. "I'm looking forward to people getting to know her more through her work. She's an amazing person."